October 10, 2009

Brain-to-brain communication demonstrated

Brain-to-brain ("B2B") communication has been achieved for the first time by Dr. Christopher James of the University of Southampton.

While attached to an EEG amplifier, the first person generated and transmitted a series of binary digits by imagining moving their left arm for zero and their right arm for one. That data was sent via the Internet to another PC. The second person was also attached to an EEG amplifier and their PC flashed an LED lamp at two different frequencies, one for zero and the other one for one.

The pattern of the flashing LEDs was too subtle to be detected by the second person, but was picked up by electrodes detecting visual cortex activity. The PC deciphered whether a zero or a one was transmitted, with an end-to-end bandwidth of about .14 bit/sec.

"B2B could be of benefit such as helping people with severe debilitating muscle wasting diseases, or with the so-called 'locked-in' syndrome, to communicate and it also has applications for gaming," said James.

Possible extensions of the research include two-way and multiuser B2B communication with faster, broader-bandwidth transmission by using more complex signal generation and pattern recognition. - Ed.

Source: University of Southampton news release

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